I have not written anything up to this point about kids. I guess there was a real concern about exposing them online might somehow do them harm. But in this day and age, like everything else in this world, there is really no guarantee of them not being exposed to the world before they grow up.
Sa'er (三儿) came home with a homework sheet from the her World Geology class, which asked her to interview an immigrant. Both mom and dad are immigrants to this country, that makes the homework a bit easier for her.
The questions are simple. What pushed you to emigrate from your home country? What drew you to the United States? What effect has your emigration had on your home country? What effect has your immigration had on your community?
They are simple questions, but not necessarily easy.
I told her that the political system in my home country pushed me out, and the political freedom drew me to this country. But those are empty words that probably don't mean much a thing to her, even as a middle-schooler, even though she probably has more political-awareness than most of her peers.
What I did not tell her was what happened to me and to many of my generation in 1989. Being in Beijing, I was in the thick of it by geological and political association. Both mom and I heard the gun shots. I saw the crushed dead bodies. What gave me hope ended in bloodshed. After leaving that city, where I lived and worked for eight and a half years, besieged under the guns and tanks of the armed forces, I started to plan my exit.
I went to Germany a year and a half later. Another year and a half later, I came to this country, the land of the free, as the legends say.
I wasn't at all surprised when mom simply answered the same question with the word freedom. I know what that word means and I know that she knows.
I hope the kids, who are born in this land of the free, know what that word means to them.